Bristol, RI

The Hidden Garden Hike in Rhode Island that feels like a Fairytale

Travel Maven

Blithewold is a mansion, garden, and arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island and it is one of New England's many hidden treasures.

This historic estate spans 33 beautiful acres complete with sweeping views of the Narragansett Bay. The property also contains 45-rooms filled with various family heirlooms and is surrounded by a series of lovely unique gardens.
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The gardens feature an exceptional collection of rare and exotic plants, specimen trees, an accessible greenhouse, and even a bamboo grove.
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Bamboo GroveJoan S./Unsplash

This beautiful garden was created back in the 1800s by the Van Wickles family. They placed a great emphasis on landscape and hired an architect, John DeWolf to lay out the ground's design.
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When walking through the garden today, visitors will notice a series of both historic and contemporary gardening. The oldest sections of the grounds include the 10-acre Great Lawn, Enclosed Garden, Orchard, and Cutting and Vegetable Gardens that were all laid out in the late 1890s. The Bosquet, Rose, and Water Gardens were created in the early 1900s, followed by the North Garden in 1911, and the Rock Garden in the 1920s.

There are 10 different landscapes to experience within Blithewold, 7 of them include gardens. The Rose garden features a beautiful stone archway surrounded by shrub roses.

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Rose GardenHelen Cranston/Unsplash

North Garden features stunning views of the bay, a fountain, and a variety of perennials. This garden hosts both weddings and social functions.

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North GardenWayne Smith/Unsplash

The Idea Garden is a shaded path that features a historic tiny shed, trellis, and several smaller gardens.

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Idea GardenGale Todd/Unsplash

One of the coolest features of the property is the Lord and Burnham Greenhouse. Rebuilt and restored in the years 2005 and 2015, this greenhouse is filled with tropical and exotic plants including monstera and snake plants.

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Stacey Abraham/Unsplash

You can visit these breathtaking gardens year-round every day of the week. The grounds are open from 10 am to 5 pm on Mondays through Saturdays and are open from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday.

Whenever you decide to plan a visit, be sure to check out Blithewold's official site. It will explain which particular blooms are currently on display and what you can expect to see within the gardens.

Tickets can be purchased online up to a day in advance and cost $18 for adults. Admission for children between the ages of 6-17 costs just $8 and children 5 and under are free.

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Tom Langton/Unsplash


The Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum are located at 101 Ferry Rd., Bristol, Rhode Island.

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